CEDAW 52nd Session Country Reports: New Zealand and Samoa

By Mel O’Brien

I thought I would put NZ and Samoa in the same blog post, as they are two Pacific island countries, and so it is a useful comparison. The two states are in completely different situations, however, in many ways, with regards to advancement and equality of women.

The issue of women in politics continues to be a pressing issue for the Committee, and they have pushed this topic with every state whose report(s) has(ve) been considered. There was no love lost with either NZ or Samoa, however. In the case of NZ, there was, we repeatedly heard, "no appetite" for special measures like quotas to increase the number of women in parliament. NZ does have a relatively high percentage of women in parliament, at 32%, however this is down from previous governments, and in general the trend towards women’s advancement is decreasing in NZ. As a consequence, the Committee pushed for NZ to consider implementing temporary special measures, although the NZ delegation did not take to this idea. Continue reading